2016 Kabaddi World Cup :: Heroic Japan go down fighting to bullish Iran - News

Heroic Japan go down fighting to bullish Iran

15 October 2016

Biggies Iran trounced Japan by a 38-34 margin in the second match of Day 9 of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup at The Arena, Ahmedabad. The scoreline suggests a close battle but Iran never looked in danger of losing their lead. The Japanese played with renewed vigour in the second half and even managed to get the Iranians all-out for the first time in the tournament.

Group B leaders Iran went into the match with the best defensive record having logged 46 tackle points in the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup. They showed exactly why they have that as Iran used their physical superiority to great effect. Japanese captain Masayuki Shimokawa was tackled for the first time in the tournament early into the match. His team looked intimidated as the Iranians played with a swagger. The latter maintained a high defensive line and exuded confidence as they tackled the Japanese just a few feet away from the mid line.

A bullying Iran defence left Japan looking flat and clueless. The score at half-time was 19-9 in the favour of the Iranians. Japan came out after the break with renewed vigour and looked to make the match more of a contest. Shimokawa started getting more successful raids in and substitutes Yuten Kawate and Makoto Sawazu too joined the captain in doing so. They also started to look better in defence as their team began working better as a unit. The Iranians didn’t have a single standout player as they relied on some impressive teamwork.

The Iranian substitutes Mohammadesmaeil Maghsoudloumahalli and Mohammadtaghi Paeinmahali were the top scorers for Iran with five points each as both got super raids late in the game. Japan looked increasingly confident as the match wore on going on a 13-4 run in a five-minute sequence in the second half. Iran never upped the ante as has been the case in their previous matches and there may have been a few jitters in their camp near the end.

Japan looked as if they had been inflicted with a psychological scar and their second half display will give them plenty of confidence going into the crunch games against Kenya and Thailand. Iran have looked comfortable but have been guilty of letting their opponents off the hook after dominating initially. They are into the semi-finals and will have to look for that extra gear if they are to get beyond that point with India being their most likely opponents at that stage.